A 16-year-old Fairfax youth was shot and wounded by county police early Saturday at the conclusion of a high speed auto chase after the youth apparently tried to run over a policeman, county police reported yesterday.

The incident ended, police said, when a policeman pulled the youth to safety from the stolen vehicle he was driving after its gas tank exploded.

Treated for a wound to his left forearm and a grazed chest, the youth was held under $10,000 bond yesterday in the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Home on charges of felonious assault and auto larceny.

Police said the chase began about 2:20 a.m. when the stolen car sped past a police car driven by Officer Jerry Bowers at Elkins Street and Fort Hunt Road. After a pursuit of about five miles, police said, the youth rammed the police car at Rte. 1 and Fort Hunt Road, injuring Bowers.

When Bowers got out of his police car, the youth backed the stolen car into a pole, cracking its gas tank, police said. "He then accelerated in an apparent attempt to run over Office Bowers and struck Bowers with the right front fender of his car. As he was being struck, Bowers fired one shot at the youth," according to a police press release. After two other cruisers arrive, Officer Edward Picarcella fired two shots at the youth, police said.

The gas tank of the car the youth was driving ignited, police said, when he then drove it into another pole; Sgt. Riley Wilson pulled him from the burning car.

Officer Bowers was treated at Mt. Vermont Hospital and released after treatment for neck and back injuries and leg cuts.